Will There Be Blood For Dealing With The Global Green New Deal – OpEd


The widespread expansion of neoliberalist capitalism has had a diverse impact on climate change, triggering visible shifts in weather patterns and increasing global temperature. As a result, global warming is decreasing the efficiency of natural selection and the planet’s adaptive capacity. Thanks to an increasing number of natural calamities, people around the world find themselves more vulnerable to climate catastrophes like devastating storms, droughts, floods and wildfires.   

Deforestation, carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels, and methane gas production, primarily by dairy farms, are factors that are exacerbating climate change and the ozone layer decline. It may palpable that as an instrument to stimulate economic growth, developed nations are engaging in excessive consumption of coal, natural gas, and mineral oil resulting significant increases of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide depletes the protective ozone layer above the planet, in addition, contributing to a rise in global temperature.

Historically, since the inception of the industrial period, the planet’s average temperature has risen. The weather has been extremely hazardous, with record-breaking high temperatures (as July 2023 was the hottest month on record ever since 1880), deluges of rain (as Bangladesh’s Chattagram witnessed previous year), record-setting storm surges (Libya’s storm Daniel killed over 10000 people), and exceptionally high sea levels (Bangladesh seen 3.8-5.8 mm rise of sea level). As a direct consequence of this, human lives and livelihoods are going to fall into jeopardy.

To tackle adverse effects of climate change and guaranteeing climate justice for the most vulnerable states, global leaders designed a strategy termed the “Global Green New Deal (GGND)” to improve well-being and health of future generations reviving green economy, reduce carbon dependency and environmental destruction. Ironically, capitalist corporate organisations are embracing a new hegemonic market apparatus to rule over the GGND. They are pondering to capture global market of the clean energy, EVs production and carbon capturing technologies by replacing petroleum-based businesses and vehicles.

However, shifting net zero carbon is a classic illustration of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Though renewable energy is a breath of fresh air for combating global warming, unfortunately a new hegemonic market expansion apparatus is emerging thanks to the proliferation of renewable energy businesses.

It is evident that the gathering of the raw materials or critical minerals for producing renewable energy is as crucial as investment in renewable technologies. While the extraction of critical minerals and production of technologies potentially generates new employment opportunities, it sparks new environmental issues. Like the conflicts that were organized across the globe based on the extraction of fossil fuels in the pre-industrial era, the global superpowers, corporations and tech giants are now competing for a new economic war focusing on the extraction of raw materials for clean energy and Electric Vehicles (EV), as example.

In this sense, it’s become a competitive ground for global superpowers to ensure and advancing their energy security, technologies as well as business monopolies. Therefore, they are looking for a different approach to lessening costs and bolstering renewable energy marketing replacing fossil fuel. Consequently, many western companies are preparing to investing their capital in the alternative sources of power. 

If we look back, we may see critical minerals like lithium, battery minerals and the environmental impact of their extraction was one of the most debated topics of 2022-23. You may know that critical minerals including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, and graphite are used to make rechargeable batteries of EVs, which are crucial for underpinning an extensive number of companies. These minerals are essential for the creation of electric batteries, which store energy and used to power generation. Meanwhile, the mining of these renewable energy sources resulting significant damage to the natural ecosystem

Let’s take lithium as an example. As the most well-known mineral for powering electric vehicles, it offers a path away from our dependency on fossil fuels. Extracting them could result in complications including soil degradation, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, disruption of ecosystem functioning, and a rise in global warming. In some places, including northern Chile’s Toconao, Portugal’s Pinhel, and Zimbabwe’s Madzima, the mining of lithium has sparked disputes over extraction. Notably, Rivalry between Chinese and Western mining companies seeking control of lithium mines is a potential new source of conflict between superpowers. 

Again, solar power and wind energy are becoming more popular as a potential replacement beyond fossil fuels. They seem relatively low production cost, environmentally friendly option for producing electricity. However, solar power production is not always feasible in all locations in the densely populated countries like Bangladesh. To produce the solar panels anticipated for such a massive rise in renewable energy output, an increasing number of extractions for critically minerals are required. The extraction processes for the silicon, silver, aluminum, and copper required for the production of solar panels are fraught with inadequacies due to a plethora of challenges like shortage of capital, raw materials, technological innovation. Evidently, there is a speculation that, China use forced labour by Uyghur Muslims in Xinxiang province to produce solar panels and polysilicon extraction causing the violation of human rights. 

Moreover, some countries are facing the adverse effects of climate change more than others. These countries are suffering for foot the bill, technological shortage, experts, or ability to improve infrastructure development that is required to deal with or survive a climate catastrophe. According to the Loss and Damage Collaboration, the cost of climate change-related financial losses in the 55 most vulnerable countries between 2000 and 2020 is expected to exceed $50 trillion. In the following ten years, this deficit will balloon by another fifty thousand crores. Several climate vulnerable countries are already terribly impoverished regularly lending money from bourgeois countries in order to mitigate natural disasters. As a result, they are potentially running with the dangers of falling into the debt trap, which may threaten their economic prosperity and national security respectively. 

Indeed, environmental conflict is flourishing as a result of dealing with the global green new deal. In light of this, governments and international organisations need to develop policies that priorities the needs of their citizens. Every country must have the opportunity for full and decent work at affordable wages, and this can only be accomplished with a globally productive economy and a zero-sum strategy. We also need a sustainable future based on the mobilization of resources and policies to decarbonize development and restore environmental health in all aspects of the GGND.

It’s pointing out that, there are many inconsistencies and a lack of corporations among the vulnerable and most carbon emitter countries. Some of them are addressed, and the rest of them are remain behind the scene. We have an extra mile to go to be better than we were yesterday. We need a whole societal approach to decrease our carbon footprints and to implement GGND.

Additionally, we should choose a peaceful endgame rather choosing a conflictual apparatus to dealing with climate change. There needs to be a more accurate universal GGND that will ensure climate justice for all of the vulnerable countries and individuals as well as net-zero emission goals. For example, emission-based compensations or carbon offsetting, loss and damage-based compensation, sharing technologies for climate vulnerable countries as well as prohibit business monopolies with strong hands. 

Conflict is inevitable. It is more pretext in the name of extraction of natural resources or critical minerals. In the quest of environment, today or tomorrow both parties will lose. The extraction of natural resources is not only a profitable business but also sometimes takes human lives; which is portrayed in Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic American nightmare film “There will be Bood”. It illustrated Daniel Plainview, a petroleum spectacular played by Daniel-Day Lewis, as a burning indictment of male aggression and an apocalyptic warning portraying the destruction of human life and the earth itself by discovering oil. So, we don’t want another blood by the name of dealing with the “Global Green New Deal”. We need to take the next steps with precautions.

Sauid Ahmed Khan

Sauid Ahmed Khan is a Freelance Contributor and based in Bangladesh.

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